How to Say “Good Morning!” (And Actually Mean It)

How to Say “Good Morning!” (And Actually Mean It)

Wouldn’t it be great if every morning could be like Saturday? We’d spend our mornings on the couch in fuzzy slippers with a steaming mug of coffee, reading something we enjoy. No alarm clocks or schedules—just an easy, breezy start to the day with no stress.

But, alas, other days of the week require us to suit up and use our God-given gifts and talents, so there’s no time for cozying up. Those are the days we face the race against the clock to get out the door. Or in my case, get behind my desk and fire up my laptop.

And can I just tell you that I’ve had my share of crazy mornings? Like the time we really needed to be somewhere on time, and after a long, panicked search for my keys, they were found in the pantry. (I mean, what in the actual world?)

Mornings are not always good.

But there is a way to make them better. When we establish a morning routine, we set ourselves up to have a smooth morning. We can be at our best for our people for the rest of the day. Having a daily plan can make the difference between frantic, mad dashes out the door and a calm, semi-peaceful morning.

Sorry, I can’t promise 100% peace. For example, I can’t help you keep your teenage daughters from fighting over the bathroom or toddler boys from launching toys over the back of the couch. But knowing where your purse and keys are as you leave the house? That’s sanity, right there.

There are 3 elements of a good morning routine:

It’s written and posted.
You want to write all of the steps down and post them somewhere you’ll see them in the morning. If it takes a cup of coffee (or three) to get your brain functioning in the morning, you’ll be able to refer to it without having to remember which step is next.

It’s realistic.
To develop a morning routine, you’ll want to perform each of the steps to see how long they actually take. For us optimists, this is the hardest part. We want to believe we can apply our makeup and dry our hair in 15 minutes, but for most of us, this is unrealistic. When you’ve determined how long your routine takes, you’ll know what time to set your alarm clock.

It’s flexible.
You want to leave some margin time, for when the unexpected happens. We all hope the 3-yr-old doesn’t dump cereal on the floor, but that’s like hoping it won’t get hot and humid in the South in July. (Parenting hack: never pour more than you’re willing to clean up.)

 

What do you put on your morning routine list?

Short answer: everything you do in the morning. Also, everything you need to do in the morning, but you don’t have time because you haven’t planned for it.

Start a load of laundry.
Maybe “laundry day” is the highlight of your week (if you’re really, really weird), but if you’re like most people, having piles of clothes to wash, dry, fold and put away can suck the life out of you. Not to mention the panicked feeling if there’s nothing to wear when laundry day is preempted by an urgent interruption. You’ll want to make sure your evening routine includes finishing the load, so you don’t have to re-wash it 4 times. (More on the evening routine next month.)

Unload the Dishwasher.
The key to making an unpleasant task palatable is to make a game of doing it as quickly as possible. Can you beat yesterday’s time? When you invest a few minutes in the morning, it makes your whole day (and evening routine) much easier. It enables you to load dirty dishes immediately throughout the day, rather than piling them in the sink. Not only does it save time doing the dishes later, but a clean kitchen gives you a psychological boost. An empty sink just feels better.

Groom and dress yourself.
We’ve all had that dream where we showed up to work or school in our pajamas, but there’s a pretty good chance you won’t skip this step. Nevertheless, include it in your written plan for two reasons: 1) You’ll factor in the time with the rest of the list and 2) It will be an easy item to check off.

Water the garden.
For those who have a garden, this step is likely seasonal. Watering in the morning before the soil gets too hot will help conserve water and keep your plants healthy. I like to pull the weeds out each day too, before it becomes a big job. It’s easier to pull them when the soil is wet too.

Connect with God.
This is the one we’re so tempted to skip if we are rushing around. But it’s the step we also need the most if we’re rushing around. Even a few minutes of prayer can focus our thoughts and attitudes on what’s truly important for the day.

If you’re a parent or grandparent, sometimes it’s hard to know how to pray for your kids. Sally Burke and Cyndie Claypool De Neve have written a book called Raise Them Up: Praying God’s Word Over Your Kids. Sally and Cyndie understand the spiritual benefits of praying scripture over your kids. They say, “You may not realize this, but every atom is held together by an invisible force that scientists call gluon. If you split an atom, you get atomic power. And yet God’s Word is much more explosive and powerful than that.”


Giveaway Time!


Thanks to our fabulous friends over at Harvest House, we are able to give a few of you a free copy of Raise Them Up!

And one Grand Prize Winner will receive:

  • Copy of Raise Them Right
  • Felt Letter Board
  • Ladder Toss Game

Leave a comment below to be entered to win. What are you putting on your morning routine list for summer?

*Giveaway for US residents only.

How to Build Your Daily Routine: The Morning Edition

How to Build Your Daily Routine: The Morning Edition

I have one job in this post – to convince you that creating your daily routine is possible.

Even if habits are not your thing.

Even if you are not a morning person.

Trust me. This is possible.

We’ve all tried to create habits that would make us be more efficient, keep our homes clean and clutter free, and would get us out the door in the morning and into bed at a reasonable time.

Here is the first thing I want you to know: I am the least “routine” person you’ve ever met. My approach to each day was fresh and new (read random and chaotic). So, if I can do this, your daily routine is totally within reach.

The second thing I need you to know:  I have never been a morning person. My mom, when signing me up for kindergarten, told the teacher if I didn’t get into the “Late Birds” group, we would have to change schools. There would be no “Early Bird” class for little Kathi. She didn’t want to physically drag me out of bed every morning.

But as an adult, I realized that if I want to get stuff done in life, I need to get up before the rest of the world. (Or at least my kids.)

I really believe having a morning routine is one of the most powerful ways to not just change your day, but change your life, because we give ourselves more permission to go deeper in the morning than we do at any other time.

Having a morning routine means deciding in advance what you’re going to do, so you can spend your mental energy focusing on what’s really important for the day.

 

How to Create a Daily Routine for Mornings

Here are six steps to creating your morning daily routine.

 

Make a list of everything you do in the mornings.

Go into detail, and leave nothing out, no matter how small. Here’s an idea of some things you’ll want to include:

• Brushing teeth
• Showering
• Making breakfast
• Finding car keys
• Getting kids ready
• Quiet time
• Making coffee
• Putting on makeup
• Laundry
• Getting dressed
• Eating breakfast
• Packing your computer bag
• Making lunches

 

Evaluate your list. 

The next morning, if you remember things that aren’t on the list, write them down. I want you to get an accurate reflection of what you can accomplish and see where the stress is in the morning.

Are you a morning person? Awesome! Load up your mornings, but load it up with the most important stuff.

Are you a night owl? Do everything you can to prep the night before so you can get the rest you need. I will do a whole other blog post on having an evening routine, but the bottom line is…PREP, PREP, PREP.

If it’s not working, brainstorm ways to make it work. Maybe you need a longer prep list the night before, or you might even need to plan earlier in the week. Making a big pot of oats to heat up in the microwave or putting together your outfits for the week can make your mornings go more smoothly. I’m a big fan of a prep and plan day to set you up for success for the rest of the week.

 

Set Up a Staging Area

This is everything when you are trying to get out the door each morning. Staging is the act of having everything ready to go when you are. Putting everything by the door will save you tons of time and stress. You could even place a chair or table there for that purpose.

Items to place in your staging area:

  • Lunch boxes
  • Jackets
  • Keys
  • Computer Bag
  • Backpacks
  • Homework
  • School or work projects
  • Travel mug or water bottle
  • Cell phone
  • Dog Leash

You can even have a list of the things you need to take in that area so you are sure not to forget a thing.

 

Complete Tasks By Location 

This is one of those tiny tricks that will absolutely save your mornings.

As much as I need to get in the steps on my Fitbit, I was all over my house as I was getting ready in the morning. Going up and down the stairs a dozen times was taking up a huge chunk of my morning.

So now, I break up my morning by location.

When creating your daily routine, I want you to think about what rooms you use in the morning (kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, upstairs, downstairs, etc.) and figure out all the things that need to be done in that room.

Kitchen:

  • Make breakfast
  • Make coffee
  • Pack lunches
  • Unload dishwasher
  • Eat breakfast
  • Have quiet time
  • Load dishwasher

Bedroom/Bathroom:

  • Shower
  • Dressed
  • Makeup
  • Sort laundry

Front Door:

  • Keys
  • Computer bag
  • Travel mug
  • Handbag
  • Cell phone

I’m a “go downstairs first thing” kinda girl, so I get all my kitchen stuff done, move to my bedroom, and then, if I’m leaving the house, move to the front door and prep to leave.

 

Time yourself to see how long things actually take.

We are time optimists.

We think it takes five minutes to put on makeup, but it really takes ten. Time yourself so you know where you can save time, and where to schedule more. You’ll have a realistic idea about how long your morning routine takes and reduce your stress level getting out the door.

 

Print out your list so it’s easy to follow.

Put it up in the kitchen, your bathroom, the bedroom, or wherever you’ll see it. Practice, practice, practice.

When I did this, I learned more efficient ways to get my list done faster. Since I normally eat oatmeal for breakfast, I got to where I could unload the dishwasher in the 3 minutes and 33 seconds it takes to cook in the microwave.

The first couple of weeks are discovery. After that, it’s execution.

 

Adjust as you go.

By sheer accident, I discovered that my oatmeal turns out just as good if I only cook it for 3 minutes, so I had to think of new strategies to unload the dishwasher 33 seconds faster.

Sometimes you’ll have to change your routine as circumstances change, like for a new job or school schedule. Keep adjusting your routine so that it continues to work for you.

One of the best things that will come out of this is you’ll continually be thinking about how to save time and make your daily routines more efficient. Here are some of my favorite tricks:

  • For the dishwasher, I learned that loading things in groups (plates, drinking glasses, knives, etc.) saves me time in unloading.
  • Set up your coffee the night before. I want to hug myself when I come downstairs and smell coffee.
  • I leave my walking shoes by the front door so when it’s time to exercise, I don’t need to go upstairs to get them.
  • I leave my computer charging downstairs so it’s ready to go in the morning (and fully charged.)
  • I make lunches the night before, and have bought these great salad containers so we can prep the night before (or even two nights before. They are that good.)
  • I have a hook in my bedroom where I hang the next day’s outfit.
  • I sleep in a cute pair of leggings, a tank top, and a sports bra, so I’m ready for exercise the next morning.

 

One More Tip

By the way, there’s one other thing that can keep us from a happy morning: Clutter! (You knew I had to go there on a Clutter Free Academy blog post.)

If you haven’t already joined our growing community on Facebook, click below to find an encouraging, shame-free place where you’ll get the support you need to get the clutter out of your house.

 

CLICK HERE TO JOIN NOW!

 

Peace is possible in the morning, I promise!

 

Happy Mornings: 5 Easy Steps to an Effective Routine

Happy Mornings: 5 Easy Steps to an Effective Routine

Confession time. I have never been a morning person, until recently.

I realized that if I want to get stuff done in life, I need to get up before the rest of the world. But it’s still not easy to get going.

I really believe having a morning routine is one of the most powerful ways to not just change your day, but change your life, because we give ourselves more permission to go deeper in the morning than we do at any other time.

As the morning goes on, we can come up with more and more excuses about why we are not doing what we need to do.

Having a morning routine means deciding in advance what you’re going to do, so you can spend your mental energy focusing on what’s really important for the day.

Here are five steps to creating a routine for happy mornings.

1. Make a list of everything you do in the mornings.

Go into detail, and leave nothing out, no matter how small. Here is an idea of some things you’ll want to include:
• Brushing teeth
• Showering
• Making breakfast
• Finding car keys
• Getting kids ready
• Quiet time
• Making coffee
• Putting on makeup
• Laundry
• Getting dressed
• Eating breakfast
• Packing your computer bag
• Making lunches

2. Evaluate your list.
The next morning, if you remember things that aren’t on the list, write them down. I want you to get an accurate reflection of what you can accomplish and see where the stress is in the morning.

Are you a morning person? Awesome! Load up your mornings, but load it up with the most important stuff.

Are you a night owl? Do everything you can to prep the night before so you can get the rest you need. I could do a whole other blog post on having an evening routine, but the bottom line is…PREP, PREP, PREP.

If it’s not working, brainstorm ways to make it work. Maybe you need a longer prep list the night before, or you might even need to plan earlier in the week. Making a big pot of oats to heat up in the microwave or putting together your outfits for the week can make your mornings go more smoothly. I’m a big fan of a prep and plan day to set you up for success for the rest of the week.

3. Time yourself to see how long things actually take.
We are time optimists. We think it takes 5 minutes to put on makeup, but it really takes fifteen. Time yourself so you know where you can save time, and where to schedule more. You’ll have a realistic idea about how long your morning routine takes and reduce your stress level getting out the door.

4. Print out your list so it’s easy to follow.
Put it up in the kitchen, your bathroom, the bedroom, or wherever you’ll see it. Practice, practice, practice.

When I did this, I learned more efficient ways to get my list done faster. Since I normally eat oatmeal for breakfast, I got to where I could unload the dishwasher in the 3 minutes and 33 seconds it takes to cook.

The first couple of weeks are discovery. After that, it’s execution.

5. Adjust as you go.
By sheer accident, I discovered that my oatmeal turns out just as good if I only cook it for 3 minutes, so I had to think of new strategies to unload the dishwasher 33 seconds faster.

Sometimes you’ll have to change your routine as circumstances change, like for a new job or school schedule. Keep adjusting your routine so that it continues to work for you.

 

By the way, there’s one other thing that can keep us from a happy morning: Clutter! (You knew I had to go there on a Clutter Free Academy blog post.)

If you haven’t already joined our growing community on Facebook, follow the link to find an encouraging, shame-free place where you’ll get the support you need to get the clutter out of your house.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/clutterfreeacademy/

Peace is possible in the morning, I promise!

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